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Marvelous Marble

FORT WAYNE, IND. (WPTA21)-In the ancient pseudo-science of alchemy practitioners tried to turn lead into gold. It didn’t work.

Just as a hobby I was just gonna do it myself for fun,” says Fort Wayne artist Diane Schafer-King. “That was over 30 years ago and here I am.”

But in Schafer-King’s studio alchemy is still practiced as the artist turns water and paint into writhing, undulating patterns and transfers them onto cloth or paper, even ceramics. The result she says is a collaboration between artist and medium with the artist not always in charge.

It teaches me I can have a certain amount of control over the marbling solution but not really,” she says. “I have to be really prepared to let it show me let it take me in a direction.”

Schafer-King discovered the art of marbling when a book about it fell from a bookstore shelf and landed at her feet. She took it as a sign and has since become a proficient practitioner of the ancient Japanese technique. It involves sprinkling drops of paint onto a solution of powdered seaweed and water. The seaweed makes the paint float on the surface to be manipulated in anyway the artist chooses. The finished design easily transfers to cloth or other materials to produce exciting and intricate patterns of color that look like nature herself made them. Schafer-king is a speech therapist by profession and says she’s used marbling at work, with patients who can’t communicate.

I brought marbling in to some of the stroke patients,” she recalls, “and so I just know that it’s an art form that’s meant to expand me as I work with people and their communication.”

Schafer-King creates scarves, handkerchiefs, jewelry, book bindings. She conducts workshops and classes to share what she loves with others. And though she’s marbled for decades and become expert at it she says she has no intention of quitting anytime soon.

It found me,” she laughs, “and the inner part of me says it’ll show you when you’re done with it.”

Eric Olson reporting out in 21 Country.

Eric Olson

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